The 2008 survey used stratified random sampling to select 1,800 residents within city boundaries and 200 Colorado State University (CSU) dormitory students to receive survey mailings. The 2008 report includes comparisons of specific questions by demographic characteristics and geographic area of residence.
Of the 2,000 surveys mailed in September 2008, about 73 were returned because the housing unit was vacant or the postal service was unable to deliver the survey as addressed. Of the 1,927 households that received a survey, 641 completed the survey, 47 of which were CSU dormitory students, providing an overall response rate of 33%. It is customary to describe the precision of estimates made from surveys by a level of confidence (or margin of error). The 95% confidence level is typically no greater than plus or minus four percentage points around any given percent based on community-wide estimates.
Comparisons are made between 2008 responses and those from prior years, when available. Fort Collins also elected to have results compared to those of other jurisdictions around the nation and to Front Range jurisdictions. These comparisons are made possible through NRCs national benchmark database, which contains resident perspectives gathered in citizen surveys from approximately 500 jurisdictions, including cities and counties.